Let’s Innovate While Respecting Tradition: A Partnership with Grenada Red Cross Society


Audra Gill

MPH Candidate, Global Health Epidemiology

As the trip nears closer, I'm starting to get more and more excited about our trip to Grenada! Our
course this first half of the semester, has allowed us to spend a great deal of time learning about
Grenadian culture and the long-standing partnerships between the University and our
community partners. I appreciate that our University of Michigan / Grenada partnership is one
that combats negative stereotypes surrounding short-term service-related trips as a
long-standing, sustainable, and continuously improved upon experiential partnership between
the University and several community partners. I am grateful to be a part of this team and look
forward to the opportunity to build upon what other students have worked on previously as well
as contribute my unique skill sets and experiences to the program.

Grenada Red Cross Society

During our time in Grenada, our group will be working specifically with Grenada Red Cross
Society (GRCS) which is an organization that provides services near and dear to my heart. As
someone with an interest in emergency management/disaster recovery, this opportunity allows
me the chance to delve deeper into the infrastructure of another country and see how the
agency operates in terms of serving their citizens. More specifically, GRCS has tasked our
group with identifying opportunities for growth in the program’s engagement, communication,
and evaluation both externally and internally.

We had the opportunity to meet the President of GRCS last week, Samantha Dickson, who was
incredibly welcoming to our team. She shared that she is really excited to let us take initiative
and delve into the organization’s operations in however ways we deem appropriate. Her
confidence in our ability to produce adequate recommendations, was comforting, but adds an
added sense of pressure to ensure we live up to her expectations! When referencing the
difficulties of revamping the program, she said “it can be challenging to innovate while
respecting traditions, but that is what we must figure out how to do” - and this stuck with me.

To innovate while respecting traditions - what a seemingly simple yet difficult task.

Here’s to hoping that this is something we can achieve.

Stay tuned for more updates!